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NARI board calls for adequate funding

Agricultural organizations like NARI need adequate and continued funding support to effectively continue with their research and development work, says Deputy Council Chairman Joseph Tomerop.

While acknowledging guests and participants to the Agricultural Innovations Show, including Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll, Tomerop stated that funding for agriculture should be among those on the top of the list of government budgetary process.

Tomerop said in the past it was agriculture that was running the country and therefore the sector was prioritized, however it is not the case today, although the sector still continues to contribute significantly to the economy.

“It is sad funding for agriculture is still around 2% when the sector contributes about a quarter of the total GDP,” he said.

“Back in the 70s and 80s, agriculture kept this country rolling, with only one mine (Panguna). Can the government change that back to 10% and a little bit more to the research institutes?”

Tomerop said the Institute needs funds to maintain its centers and the workforce so that research continues.

With the ban on the import of fresh produce now coming on board, farmers need improved information and skills to not only improve production but maintain the market.

He said NARI has released 28 technologies of which some have huge potential for SME development, such as the blight tolerant potatoes which can produce up to 40 tones per hectare.

Tomerop further stated that partnership and land reform are the way to go for agricultural development in the country to reach another milestone.

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